- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 6, 2017

CHICAGO (AP) - A suburban Chicago woman has been sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding Illinois out of nearly $7 million in unemployment benefits.

The U.S. attorney’s office says 54-year-old Letitia Garcia of Round Lake Beach helped hundreds of people prepare and file unemployment insurance claims that contained false information.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Eichenseer says Garcia committed wholesale fraud against a state program designed to help vulnerable state residents get back on their feet after an unexpected job loss.

Authorities say Garcia charged each client $300 to $400 to prepare and file a claim online Half of the fee was due upfront, and the balance owed when the client received the benefits.

Garcia pleaded guilty earlier this year to three counts of mail fraud in the case. She was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang.

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